The Jaguars and Browns are battling for the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft -- and a shot at Teddy Bridgewater.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – You are Teddy Bridgewater. You are playing the way you were supposed to play, like one of the best quarterbacks in college football.
You have directed the University of Louisville to victories in the Cardinals' first three games. You rank in the Top 10 nationally in all the important NCAA passing statistics. You're primed to post king-sized numbers Saturday against Florida International.
NFL scouts pack press boxes to watch you perform. Opposing coaches dig up new superlatives to describe what you do.
Everything is great. Wonderful.
Except for one thing – two teams have emerged as the NFL franchises most likely to select first and second in the 2014 NFL Draft.
You might as well stay in Louisville for your senior season – or play on Mars. You'd have a better chance making the playoffs, the first four-team college football playoff. Maybe the more Jacksonville and Cleveland lose, then Louisville wins. Nah, too much money involved here.
It's too early to predict which NFL teams will make the 2014 Super Bowl. It's never too early to predict either Cleveland or Jacksonville will earn the first overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, putting them directly in line to select Bridgewater.
This is an intriguing topic on Thursday because of what happened on Wednesday in Cleveland. The Browns, a franchise with two winning seasons in the last 14 years, showed they were unwilling to let the Jacksonville Jaguars walk absolutely untouched into the overall first draft pick status.
The Browns dumped Trent Richardson, a guy they drafted with the third overall pick in 2012, to Indianapolis for the Colts' 2014 first-round pick.
If you are a Browns fan, you can debate the move. Some say it was bold and brilliant. You got value for a guy with a bad knee whose yards per carry average is completely ordinary. Running backs aren't that valuable in the NFL any more. It was a reach to take Richardson with the third pick.
Others say the Browns panicked, giving up on Richardson too soon. He's playing behind an ordinary offensive line, while adjusting to a new system. He needed time. Watch what he does with Andrew Luck in Indy.
That's NFL Insider 101 talk.
This is Teddy Bridgewater talk. Most insiders say Bridgewater will be the first or second pick in the draft next April. The Browns just made a move likely to make a bad team worse.
Two games into a 16-game run, the Browns and Jaguars are right where you don't want them to be, battling face-mask to face-mask for the first overall pick.
Cleveland has a young, ordinary quarterback named Brandon Weeden. He has thrown three interceptions and one touchdown in the Browns' first two games. You take Bridgewater next April if Weeden is your quarterback.
Jacksonville has a young, ordinary quarterback named Blaine Gabbert. He has thrown two interceptions without a touchdown in the Jaguars' first two games. You take Bridgewater next April if Gabbert is your quarterback.
The Jaguars have huffed and puffed to 11 points while starting 0-2. The Browns have exploded for 16 total points while matching that 0-2 and then making a firmer commitment to tanking by dumping Richardson.
Cleveland is the place where Tim Couch's career went to get bruised and battered. Couch, Kentucky's Bridgewater, was the Browns' first pick in 1999. He endured so many vicious takedowns that his shoulder was never the same and his career ended before it really began.
Did I mention the Browns have not won more than five games since 2007?
Jacksonville has been nearly as tough on its fans – and quarterbacks. No winning seasons since 2007. One playoff victory since 1999. Empty seats. More than a few people booing Gabbert, Chad Henne, David Garrard or anybody else Jacksonville trots out to play quarterback.
The Jaguars started this season looking like a lock to earn the first pick and take Teddy Bridgewater. Now Cleveland has decided to make it a race.
Jacksonville or Cleveland? Two scary words for any talented college football quarterback.